HUMAN rights lawyer Femi Falana has said heads of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) should not come from the same geopolitical zone.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) stated this while featuring on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Monday, October 16.
He argued that appointing the two leaders from the same zone was against the federal character principle.
Falana spoke on the backdrop of President Tinubu’s appointment of Ola Olukoyede from the country’s South-West as EFCC chairman on October 12.
The ICIR reports that Bolaji Owasanoye, a professor also from the South-West, is the chairman of ICPC, one of Nigeria’s two anti-corruption institutions.
“If you are going to have the EFCC and the ICPC, the heads cannot come from the same zone. If there are two positions in the public service, one must go to the North, and one must go to the South. If there are four, two must go to the South; two must go to the North. If there are six, one must go to each geopolitical zone. That is the law in Nigeria today.
“So, I am not comfortable with the fact that the heads of the EFCC and the ICPC are from the same zone. Apart from that, Mr Ola Olukoyede is eminently qualified to head the EFCC. My colleagues who have criticised the appointment have not looked at the relevant provisions of the EFCC, which is Section Two,” Falana stated.
Falanai said Olukoyede had 22 years of relevant experience, served as the chairman of the commission’s chief of staff, and served as the commission’s secretary.
“There is no issue; the only issue that has been raised has to be considered by the government, which is that we have in this country the Federal Character Commission Act, and also by virtue of Section 14 of the constitution, appointments must reflect Federal character,” Falana said.
On October 12, The ICIR reported that President Bola Tinubu appointed Olukoyede as the new EFCC boss for a renewable term of four years in the first instance, pending Senate confirmation.
Olukoyede’s appointment came after the contentious resignation of Abdulrasheed Bawa, the embattled former head of the EFCC, who was held by the State Security Service (SSS) on June 14, 2023, following an allegation of abuse of office made against him.
Olukoyede’s appointment has drawn criticism, with many contending that he is unqualified to serve as the chairman of the EFCC.
The ICIR, in this report, highlighted the opinion of some lawyers who faulted the appointment of the new EFCC boss.